Why Is Your Concrete Sidewalk Sinking and Heaving?
Concrete sidewalk sinking and heaving is a very common problem. It shows its ugly head usually in the spring, after a long winter of freeze-thaw cycle and lots of precipitation. This sinking is not just an eye-sore, it is tripping hazard to you and your customers.
The average cost of a slip and fall due to concrete sidewalk sinking and heaving is $40,000.00, plus legal fees and insurance premiums. When you compare this to a minimum charge of $2,500.00 for concrete repairs it sure makes sense to stay on top of your concrete sidewalks. Then, on top of this, you still have to pay for the repairs!
To make maters worse, if you have tripping hazards on your sidewalks you may also not be ADA compliant. This causes a whole new set of problems.
Sinking concrete occurs for many reasons. Most concrete sinks or heaves due to poor or no soil compaction. Temperatures that change quickly along with moisture can lead your concrete sidewalks to sink. When your concrete base becomes unstable, due to moisture from the freeze-thaw cycle, it can cause concrete sinking. The weight of the concrete then becomes too much to bear and causes the slab to sink and the sidewalk to become uneven.
Soil erosion can be another cause of sinking concrete. Outdoor concrete sits on top of soil, heavy water flow sometimes washes away the soil beneath the concrete slab. This then creates a void... More importantly, if weak soil caused the slab to sink, the soil may compress again under the weight of the new slab.
Slab heave or concrete heaving is caused by clay soils expanding when they absorb moisture beneath the concrete slab. The source of moisture can be rainwater, broken sewer pipes, ground water, poor surface drainage and garden irrigation. The amount of water beneath the slab is often unknown and combine this with the weight of the slab it can cause the concrete to heave.
Slab heave can also be caused by the ground drying out. Tree roots, long dry seasons, sprinkler shut-off and uneven ground shading can all cause the ground to dry out.
When it does begin to sink or heave, regardless of the reason, your best bet is to call a company that specializes in all aspects of concrete so it can be repaired properly.
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